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Resource ID: #17247
Source:Los Angeles Times
The series "disclosed misconduct on the part of Chuck Quackenbush, California's second elected insurance commissioner." The reporter found out that he "made secret deals with major insurance companies that allowed them to escape fines for mishandling hundreds, perhaps thousands, of claims relating to the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake." The stories reported that "Quackenbush had ignored recommendations form his legal staff that some of the big insurers in the state be fined hundreds of millions of dollars for mishandling Northridge claims. Instead, Quackenbush and his senior staff bullied insurers into "donating" more than $ 12 million to nonprofit foundations he created." The reporter found confidential documents to prove that the state regulator "used public funds and the power of his office to create a political slush fund, directed by highly paid consultants, to further his quest for higher public office." Quackenbush used some of the money to "repay his wife for personal loans she made to her failed state Senate campaign." After the misconduct had been revealed, the commissioner faced state's and federal probe of corruption and finally resigned. The reporter found out that in his "final days as insurance commissioner, Chuck Quackenbush approved contracts obligating California taxpayers to pay more than $ 1 million in legal fees to lawyers representing his commissioner and his top staff in investigations of wrongdoing."